“I've always felt there is something sacred in a piece of paper that travels the earth from hand to hand, head to head, heart to heart.”
Greeting cards have always seemed like a double edged sword to me. When you send them on time, you are the Champion of Thoughtfulness! But how many times have you had to run to the drugstore last minute because you didn't have the card you need? Or, worse, realize you need one when you have no opportunity to run out and get one? And why the heck are they so darned expensive?
It's time to sharpen your sword and break the cycle. Today, we're going to implement your brand new Greeting Card System!
Step One: Make a Greeting Card File
You need to stock up on greeting cards. And organize them.
Buy a box (I bought 3 from Ikea) and print out these dividers.
You will need to trim the dividers to fit your box.
After they are trimmed, they need to be filled out. For each Month divider, list your friends' and families' birthdays. While you're at it, include the Holiday dividers by listing each recipient that should get a card and fill in couple's anniversaries on the Anniversary divider. It should look like this:
Now get out some post its, fill one out for each life event (new baby, wedding, graduation, etc) and affix it to the corresponding divider. Because these change yearly, the post it is a great way to make sure you've thought of everyone but don't have to print new dividers every year.
Step Two: Put Reminders in Your Phone!
While you still have your dividers in front of you, put a reminder for every single one in your phone. Make all birthdays and holidays RECURRING reminders, so you don't have to do this ever again.
I typically make three reminders for each event, one reminding me to buy a gift (about 10 days ahead) and the second reminding me to wrap gifts and/or mail the card (three days ahead). This ensures you use your system and has the added bonus of making it look like you have been eagerly anticipating the event.
Nothing warms a mother's heart more than having her Mother's day gift sitting wrapped on the fireplace (WITH A CARD) three days before the holiday. Win!
The third reminder is for the day of so I remember to call them/not plan conflicting activities that day.
Step Three: Fill Your Box
This is key. Your number one key to success is having a box of cards ready for when they are needed. This doesn't just save you trips to the store, either - because you're planning ahead, you can take the time to pick some really lovely cards to give.
It sounds a little daunting, but is actually really easy if you have good sources for cards. Here are my favorite places to buy cards:
If they made cards for men and all holidays, I would only buy cards from Papaya Art! Their cards are absolutely gorgeous and they have the most lovely sayings. I am OBSESSED!
I have loved Erin Condren's products for a long time. I love the personalized touches and adorable graphics on her greeting cards.
Other Card Shops of Note:
I recommend doing a yearly fill. It doesn't matter when, just make sure that the same time every year you sit down with your Master Card Buying List and you get every card you need for the year. Click here to print your Master Card Buying List.
I realize this project takes some time upfront; filling your greeting card box and implementing the systems will not be quick. But once you've done it, the next year will go much faster and more importantly, you have finally created a system where you never forget a birthday/anniversary/holiday and always have the cards you need when you need them.
I would love to see your finished boxes, please share them with me if you take on this project! And if you're looking for more great organization ideas, check out this post on How to Keep Your House Clean - ALWAYS!
Until next time...